Lego builds its base with girls

A cross-country mall tour orchestrated by Toronto-based BStreet helped launch the toy co's new female-focused Friends line.
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Lego is wrapping up a cross-country tour, which introduced its new product line, Friends, to malls across Canada, and invited young girls to build part of a giant brick city.

The Lego Friends Tour attracted more than 3,400 girls (as of press time) to play and bring the mini city, called Heartlake, to life, says Sam Kashani, assistant marketing manager, Lego.
“Once you get the product in [the girls’] hands, they build,” he says. “And once they build, they really just want to be a part of Heartlake City.”

The campaign, by Toronto-based BStreet, ran from mid-February until end of March, and was supported by TV, in-store promotions and digital, including online games for girls such as digital block-cake building or house construction and decorating. The microsite, LegoFriendsCanada.ca, also includes contests, videos and backstories for the new characters.

The new product, launched in January, is a result of four years of research and more than 3,500 interviews with girls and their mothers worldwide. Lego learned that boys and girls fundamentally play differently with the bricks. Girls wanted to see themselves in the miniature Lego characters and be part of the story. The fun they had building was creating worlds in which they could role-play, says Kashani.

“A lot of girls tell us ‘I want to shrink down and be a part of it,’” he says.

While the new line specifically targets girls, with brighter colours and more doll-like characters to choose from, the dolls haven’t quite crossed over into Barbie territory; they still click into place, have the iconic clawed hands, and the emphasis remains on building with the bricks. But now the dolls are more visually appealing with brighter faces and less brick-like torsos. This has caused some concern that the dolls perpetuate sexist stereotypes, but despite the controversy, sales for the product have doubled initial expectations, says Kashani.

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